WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger— Chair of the U.S. House Agriculture Committee’s Conservation and Forestry Subcommittee — yesterday called on lawmakers to recognize the valuable perspectives of farmers on conservation issues and bring them to the table in policy discussions related to the climate crisis.
During a House Agriculture Committee hearing focused on how farmers and producers can lead on the issue of climate change, Spanberger highlighted the demonstrated record of crop and livestock producers contributing to successful, voluntary conservation efforts — and she urged her colleagues to listen to their feedback when discussing steps to combat the threat of climate change. Spanberger also asked American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall, a witness at today’s hearing, how lawmakers can ensure farmers are active participants in climate change-related discussions.
During her remarks, Spanberger also announced that she plans to reintroduce her Growing Climate Solutions Act in the coming weeks. Last year, she first introduced the bipartisan legislation, which would break down barriers for farmers, ranchers, and foresters interested in participating in carbon markets and to reward them for embracing climate-smart practices.
“At times, farmers have been left out of the national conversation on climate change, when — as we have heard today — farmers, foresters, and ranchers can, and in so many cases are, part of the solution. Back home in Virginia, I’ve heard stories from crop and livestock producers in my district about how farming and conservation practices they employ are benefiting the environment, building more sustainable operations, and benefiting their bottom line,” said Spanberger said in her remarks. “Over the next month, I will be introducing a series of bills, including larger ones like the Growing Climate Solutions Act or simple, straightforward ones like the Healthy Soils, Resilient Farmers Act — and these bills would ensure that farmers are front and center in the conservation conversations that we are having and that farmers have the tools to participate and benefit from voluntary programs as we all work together to tackle the climate crisis.”
Click here to watch Spanberger’s comments and question, and click here to watch the full hearing.
Earlier this month, the House Agriculture Committee elected Spanberger to serve as Chair of the Committee’s Conservation and Forestry Subcommittee in the 117th Congress. Spanberger also served as Chair of the Subcommittee during the 116th Congress.
Spanberger’s Growing Climate Solutions Act would create a certification program at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help solve technical entry barriers that prevent farmer and forest landowner participation in carbon credit markets. Through the program, USDA would help connect landowners to private sector actors who can assist the landowners in implementing the protocols and monetizing the climate value of their sustainable practices.
Specifically, the bipartisan bill would establish a Greenhouse Gas Technical Assistance Provider and Third-Party Verifier Certification Program through which USDA would be able to provide transparency, legitimacy, and informal endorsement of third-party verifiers and technical service providers that help private landowners generate carbon credits through a variety of agriculture and forestry related practices.